Mary Bottles

by Bob Thomas and Huw Pudner

boat

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There never was a woman
Like Mary Bottles
Hard as leather
Stood six feet one
Wore a purple shawl
Around her shoulders
Long red hair
Shone in the sun
Mary took no nonsense
From the copper workers
Showed no mercy
When they drank in her bar
She could knock out a navvy
Throw out a drunkard
Outdrink a miner
Who was in for a jar

Mary was my mother
She'd tell me stories
Rock me in her arms
And brush down my hair
Father died young
Fighting old Boney
Said he was a fool
For being there.
The bar was a den
Full of smoke and tobacco
A navvy from Cork
Would play some reels
Mary would sing
The choir would follow
Two drunks dancing
Would kick up their heels.

There never was a woman
Like Mary Bottles
I can see her standing
By the Red Jacket stream
The coppermen worshipped
The ground she stood on
The miners promised her
Peaches and cream.
Red haired Mary
My own dear mother
Would give her last penny
To the tramp in the lane
They laid her down
In the village churchyard
Rain fell like tears
In a sad refrain.

Chorus (2)
Mary Bottles, Mary Bottles
They followed her from mill and mine
Mary Bottles, Mary Bottles
She served good ale and served red wine